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Video game helps players name that tune

Sound & Music

In much the same way that movie studios market soundtracks, video game producers have published game soundtracks for years now. With the release of Grand Theft Auto IV later this month, in-game music marketing is being taken to a new level. Whenever they hear a song they like on one of the game’s fictional radio stations, players can call a dedicated number from their cell phones. Within seconds, they’ll receive a text message with information on the song and artist. The game’s publisher, Rockstar Games, is also developing a community site around GTA IV, and members will be able to receive emailed links to the songs for easy downloading from Amazon.com’s MP3 store. Besides songs, GTA IV’s radio stations—which include international funk hosted by Femi Kuti, and disco tunes courtesy of DJ Karl Lagerfeld—also feature commercials and DJ banter. Music has always been an important part of Grand Theft Auto’s virtual world, serving as a background to the gritty action in the same way songs helped define the ’80s TV series Miami Vice. So it makes perfect sense for Rockstar to create an additional revenue stream around music downloads. Smart way to cater to consumers’ infolust while promoting music sales. (Related: Online database can name that tune.) Spotted by: Bjarke Svendsen

Website: www.rockstargames.com/IV

Contact: www.take2games.com/index.php?p=global_contactsz

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